The Detroit Tigers have been telling teams at baseball's Winter Meetings that they are unlikely to sign starting pitcher Max Scherzer to a contract extension, reports Jayson Stark of ESPN. However, the team also says they are not looking to deal the 2013 AL Cy Young winner.
Detroit had been rumored to have Scherzer on the trade block earlier in the offseason despite the team looking to compete the next few years. Scherzer will become a free agent following the 2014 season and the Tigers entertained the notion of trading him before losing him with little compensation.
Instead of trading Scherzer, however, the Tigers sent Prince Fielder to Texas for Ian Kinsler in a move that saved the team around $70 million overall. They also traded Doug Fister to the Nationals in a move that will save another $10-15 million over the next two years and allowed Drew Smyly to move into the rotation.
However, the Tigers used a good-sized chunk of that money on closer Joe Nathan to help shore up a very weak bullpen that was made worse by Smyly switching to starter. They also have come to an agreement with outfielder Rajai Davis. The team has also been rumored to be in on outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, whose deal would likely take up the remainder of the team's money should they sign him.
The Tigers also have to be wary about an upcoming contract extension for Miguel Cabrera, as well. Cabrera will be a free agent in two years and is set to earn one of the largest contracts in MLB history if he continues at his current pace.
All that adds up to Detroit possibly not having the kind of money that Scherzer is looking for at the moment. The 29-year-old is looking to cash in on a Cy Young season that saw him post a 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over 32 starts while striking out 240 batters with just 56 walks.
Scherzer is in his final year of arbitration eligibility and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $13.6 million. He received $6.725 million in 2013.
It's possible that the two sides can still come to an agreement on an extension later in the offseason, but for now it appears unlikely to happen.